How to 3D Print your Dog

 

 How to 3D Print Your Dog

3dprint-marley

This is Marley; she’s your classic rock digging dog, the first pup you adopt in Loot Hound. At some point after production of the game had finished, we thought it would be an interesting idea to give the digital dog a physical form. Utilising the taboo alchemy of 3D printing, we constructed a dog shaped vessel with which to attach a similarly shaped soul, and bring our girl to life at last.

Page to Print

Bork-Marley Sketch

First, before we started modelling our character in 3D, we decided it would be best to simplify Marley’s design. We were unfamiliar with the printing process, and it’s various print check requirements; who knows what issues might arise due to some superfluous furry detailing?
Marley Mesh for 3D Print

With a (ruff) design at the ready, we brought our sketch into Blender and meshed up our Marley.

See through Marley

In order to make it economically compatible for certain types of 3D printing, we needed to hollow out her body. This can be a bit fiddly even with Blender’s handy solidify modifier. The “walls” of the model typically need to be around 7mm thick for most objects to be printed reliably. She also needed a wee bum hole of around 2mm to give that extra material an escape route.

Smooth for 3D Print

One type of 3D print material (full colour sandstone) is mixed with ink and printed in colour. Obviously that’s something we wanted to try out because it’s what makes Marley into the happy spud she is.

Physical Forms

Prototype 3D Print

We requested our fellow Whisky Bond residents Step3D to print a prototype of our model, and voila, our first ever print! It’s very light, and on close inspection you can see/feel the “steps” that come with the layered printing process. Imagine a bunch of horizontal slices piled on top of each other until the model takes shape. The print is partially hollowed as part of the process with this material, but strengthened by a grid like structure of very thin walls.

Bottom of 3D Print

One handy tip for 3D printing is that not all of the geometry need be part of the same mesh. Having separate objects intersect with each other (such as the collar tag and the body) is perfectly acceptable. Non manifold geometry (holes in the mesh, i.e. not “watertight”), however, is not, neither is having too many, or too severe, non-planar faces.

Shortly after we committed to an order of a full colour sandstone printed model from Shapeways.

Prototype and Full Colour 3D Print

This print is heavier and feels rough as you might expect of sandstone, hard and brittle, like a stoney dog biscuit. The material requirements demand her to have a larger escape hole, so we amputated her bottom.

Sandstone 3D Print

We found out, perhaps obvious to some, that 3D print colours should be treated just like regular ol’ colour printing.
In person, Marley’s colours are less vibrant than in these images, we discovered that this is quite normal but can be mitigated if you give CMYK respect. More colours mixed, like any ink or paint, produces darker, muddier hues. We also learned from various tip-giving websites to avoid mixing black ink with any of the other colours.

Things Get Meshy

Sandstone 3D Print Underside

Another more important issue, but related to the mesh, is how Blender exports were interpreted by Shapeways. Upon upload to the site, we repeatedly received vague error messages that were due to the size of the exported mesh. It turns out that Blender has this handy habit of changing the scale of our objects during export, which means Marley was too small for Shapeways to comprehend.

011scale

We found a couple solutions to this problem; one is to scale the size of the model in blender by x10,  100, -1000, or until Shapeways starts recognising it’s existence during the upload process. It was definitely a trial and error process for us, and doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, but if it works, we ain’t complaining.

012checked

Another fix we tried was checking the export settings for the inconspicuous button in the image above. It’s sole purpose seems to be for trolling unsuspecting users like us. Fortunately this only applies when exporting the model in this particular format (.FBX).

We had similar problems with scale when importing FBX files into Unity. To avoid issues we have to deactivate this button every single time we export a model. Blender is a mischievous software, one that we recommend, but it’s not without it’s perplexities.

 

With all these issues figured out from our first print, we can confidently move forward into building our dog army. 2017 should prepare itself for a right good licking!

marley-pixel

UK Games Fund award for Rhizome Games

 

We are excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant through the UK Games Fund!

The application

 

After the release of Loot Hound and our Epic Ireland collaboration, we hunted for new opportunities. The UK Games Fund was an exciting prospect as it could allow us to work towards our second project. The application process was significant but worth the effort as it encouraged us to form a robust strategy and analyze the PC game’s market in more depth than we may have otherwise (and should have for our first game). Whether we had won the grant or not, by approaching the application in a professional manner, it provided insight and experience that we wouldn’t have otherwise gained. Of course, we were extremely happy to be one of 22 of the 235 applications selected in the second round of funding, an invaluable award to small studios such as ours.

 

The playable demo

 

As of this writing, we are two months into creating a fully playable multiplayer demo of our new game that we will use to promote and help raise the remaining funds needed to develop it. We look forward to showing you what we’re creating and we can’t thank the UK Games Fund team enough for their support.

 

More info

 

A list of all second round UK Games Funded companies can be found here: http://ukgamesfund.com/funded-projects/

Also, for anyone interested we are happy to offer what advice and experience we have with grant applications such as this. Just send us an e-mail at info@rhizomegames.com or Tweet @rhizomegames

Game industry buzzwords

If there’s one thing the game industry loves, it’s a buzzword. E3 tends to dredge up over-used marketing hype, but occasionally we hear something new. Here are 10 we haven’t heard, yet:

1. “Includes more than 4 collectable unlockable 5-minute play tokens.”

2. “Now with procedurally gyrated hips.”

3. “Frame-locked and loaded.”

4. “This is the world’s first open-world MMO linearity simulator.”

5. “Optional VR crying support.”

6. “Featuring ultra-unrealistic 4k graphics.”

7. “We’ve cleaned our pixels and doubled their densology.”

8. “Our pixels are so dense only a living Scorpion can administer them to the human.”

9. “Offline boxed version now available in real life stores.”

10. “It’s the standardised, modular, portable, responsive, cloud-based, social, crowd-funded, open-source, cross-platform choice for diverse professionals like you.”

EPIC Ireland museum

Hello, 

We’re excited to announce that Rhizome Games have contributed to two exhibits at the newly opened EPIC Ireland museum in Dublin, Ireland!

EPIC Ireland is a new, highly interactive visitor experience that showcases the unique global journey of the Irish people. It’s a high tech exhibition, located in the historic vaults of The chq Building in Dublin.

In collaboration with ISO Design, lead interactive designers for the EPIC experience, Rhizome Games worked on the interactive sports exhibit and the final, interactive postcard room.

The most exciting aspect of the work was developing on massive MultiTaction tablets. MultiTaction are known for creating the most responsive multi-touch displays in the world and used in award winning museums, business, retailers and in education. We worked with five 55” screens linked together for the sports exhibit and three for the postcard signing and display room.

The interactive sports exhibit allows up to ten people to interact with the multi-touch tables at the same time.

sports

You can place a sport themed disk onto the surface of the table which triggers images and text to appear to pop out from it. You can then control selection of this text or images by rotating the disk that’s sitting on the surface of the table. Some of the content will trigger special 5-screen wide animations to play, taking over the entire display, which in-turn can trigger stop-motion style lighting in the room relating to the current sport you’re viewing.

When you first enter the museum you are given an EPIC passport that you can add stamps to at various points before using it to send a virtual postcard on your way out. When you enter the final room you can place your passport on another multi-screen display to gain access to the postcard writing exhibit. A selection of postcards are then attracted to where you placed your passport, you can then choose one you like and type or draw a message on the back of it. You can share the message to friends, and then send your creation to the big screen – hit a button, and your postcard will travel along the table (triggering more roof lighting) and magically appear on the huge wall display, which showcases everyone’s postcards in a big slowly rotating tornado of postcards.

The postcard table getting slammed by everyone’s favourite thing at a museum, school children!

If you find yourself in Dublin, Ireland, go to the EPIC Ireland museum and when you’re in the sports exhibit or drawing something magnificent on your way out, you’ll know Rhizome Games helped make it happen!

rhizome-logo-black-400x200

 

 

Top 10 VR Ideas We Aren’t Making

Top 10 VR Ideas We Aren’t Making

 

Virtual reality is about to engulf us all (again), so here are our top 10 VR ideas that we currently aren’t working on:

  1. Rollercoaster Text Adventure
  2. Bug Finder 3D (Early Access) – Help the developers find bugs, in this game about helping developers find bugs while in Early Access
  3. Find The Voxel
  4. Virtual Lecturer: Psychology 101 (Relax With HoloLens series – fall asleep in minutes!)
  5. Oculus Drift: Stranded At Sea
  6. VR Gallery: Augmented Reality Stories (a virtual reality art gallery containing photographs of people using and enjoying Augmented Reality applications)
  7. Virtual Matrix – The simulation pretends to take off and put on headset so many times you forget whether you are in or out of reality any longer
  8. Book Troll – Pick up and try to read a virtual book as an annoying demon occasionally knocks it out your hands
  9. Disorder Simulator – Choose from a selection of different distortion & disorientation presets
  10. Dinosaur Sex Simulator – No one talks about it but we all know they did it.

Don’t get us wrong, we don’t believe that VR is going to fail as it did in the 90’s. Someone will find longer term success this time around and we will see some really great applications come out of it. However, if there was ever a time to go ‘full gimmick‘ to get your game or app in the press then this is going to be a virtual heyday for developers willing to take it there. If anyone reading this would love to see Rhizome Games make any of the above ideas, or has some great ideas to add,  maybe we’ll run a crowdfunding campaign to see if we can make it happen. Let us know what you want!

image source: endgadget.com

Welcome to Rhizome Games

Hello and welcome to the website of Rhizome Games!

We are a small independent studio working in Glasgow. If you’d like to read more about our background, we have that information for you right here!

You may have noticed that we’ve already produced one title – It’s called Loot Hound, and it’s a game about finding odd treasures with your dog. You can find more information about the game by clicking on the small dog below.

 

 

We plan to keep this blog updated with some interesting stories, thoughts and news about our games – as you’d expect from a game studio blog!